LIB 640 Information Sources and Services<br />Summer 2011<br />What is Information?And what do we do about it?<br />
2<br />What is Information?<br /><ul><li>So, What Is Information?
Well, in human terms and in the broadest sense, information is anything that you are capable of perceiving. This can inclu...
What Is Information? How Is It Organized? http://www.unf.edu/~alderman/BLISS2/information.html</li></li></ul><li>3<br /><u...
Information can mean different things to different people<br />Information is the act of telling or imparting knowledge. <...
What is Information?<br />5<br />Information, more precisely defined?<br /><ul><li>Information
Data presented in readily comprehensible form to which meaning has been attributed within the context of its use. In a mor...
Whether a specific message is informative or not depends in part on the subjective perception of the person receiving it. ...
ODLIS: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science </li></li></ul><li>6<br />Another view of “information”<br />...
“. . . you know, there’s nothing as fluid as the information concept; it’s like . . . an amoeba!”
From a group interview for dissertation research, Fall 1989</li></li></ul><li>7<br />What is information?<br /><ul><li>Wha...
People often think of information in terms of its storage format.
One of the problems with the term “information” is its vagueness. Information can refer to almost any piece of data, in wh...
Information needs clearer definition in terms of its characteristics!
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What is information: And what do we do about it?

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What is information: And what do we do about it?

  1. 1. LIB 640 Information Sources and Services<br />Summer 2011<br />What is Information?And what do we do about it?<br />
  2. 2. 2<br />What is Information?<br /><ul><li>So, What Is Information?
  3. 3. Well, in human terms and in the broadest sense, information is anything that you are capable of perceiving. This can include written communications, spoken communications, photographs, art, music, nearly anything that is perceptible. . . . realistically, everything we come in contact with is capable of providing and does provide us with some sort of information. So we are essentially minute organisms afloat in a sea of information.
  4. 4. What Is Information? How Is It Organized? http://www.unf.edu/~alderman/BLISS2/information.html</li></li></ul><li>3<br /><ul><li>What is information?</li></ul>Information is the means through which knowledge is communicated. It is how you find out what you want to know. You can use information to answer questions that are of both academic and general interest. <br />A typical dictionary definition is: Knowledge communicated concerning some particular fact, subject, or event; that of which one is apprised or told; intelligence, news. (OED online) <br />
  5. 5. Information can mean different things to different people<br />Information is the act of telling or imparting knowledge. <br />Information is knowledge acquired from another. <br />Information is knowledge you can convey to others. <br />Information is facts communicated or learned. <br />Information is data interpreted to be useful. <br />Information is facts and figures. <br />Information is the ‘lifeblood of 21st century society’. <br />Information is power. <br />These quotes from ‘expert sources’ are courtesy of Open University's SAFARI tutorial. <br />4<br />
  6. 6. What is Information?<br />5<br />Information, more precisely defined?<br /><ul><li>Information
  7. 7. Data presented in readily comprehensible form to which meaning has been attributed within the context of its use. In a more dynamic sense, the message conveyed by the use of a medium of communication or expression.
  8. 8. Whether a specific message is informative or not depends in part on the subjective perception of the person receiving it. . . . Compare with knowledge.
  9. 9. ODLIS: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science </li></li></ul><li>6<br />Another view of “information”<br /><ul><li>Comment from a former faculty member at the library school in Oslo, Norway:
  10. 10. “. . . you know, there’s nothing as fluid as the information concept; it’s like . . . an amoeba!”
  11. 11. From a group interview for dissertation research, Fall 1989</li></li></ul><li>7<br />What is information?<br /><ul><li>What is information?
  12. 12. People often think of information in terms of its storage format.
  13. 13. One of the problems with the term “information” is its vagueness. Information can refer to almost any piece of data, in whatever format, that is invested with meaning for either someone sending or receiving it.
  14. 14. Information needs clearer definition in terms of its characteristics!
  15. 15. http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/electric/trainingmods/gened300/information/information_viewlet.html</li></li></ul><li>8<br />Information Types<br /><ul><li>Information formats can incorporate a variety of information types:
  16. 16. Textual
  17. 17. Bibliographic
  18. 18. Numeric
  19. 19. Graphical
  20. 20. Audio
  21. 21. Multimedia
  22. 22. http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/electric/trainingmods/gened300/information/information_viewlet.html</li></li></ul><li>Understanding the information universe<br />Information formats<br />When information is recorded and stored, it exists in a physical form called a format. There are three broad categories of format:<br />Print – paper<br />Audio-visual - film, audiotape, videocassette, slides, microfilm, vinyl records, etc.<br />Electronic – information that’s recorded, stored and retrieved using computer technology. Examples include CD’s, DVD’s, and all online sources.<br /> <br />9<br />
  23. 23. Information is all-pervading!<br />James Gleick:<br />For the purposes of science, information had to mean something special. . . . A rite of purification became necessary. <br />And then, when it was made simple, distilled, counted in bits, information was found to be everywhere. [Claude] Shannon’s [information] theory [1948] made a bridge between information and uncertainty; between information and entropy; and between information and chaos. It led to compact discs and fax machines, computers and cyberspace, Moore’s law and all the world’s Silicon Alleys. Information processing was born, along with information storage and information retrieval. People began to name a successor to the Iron Age and the Steam Age. <br />Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 134-138). Pantheon. Kindle Edition. <br />Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Location 126). Pantheon. Kindle Edition. <br />10<br />
  24. 24. Why Shannon?<br />Gleick:<br />We can see now that information is what our world runs on: the blood and the fuel, the vital principle. It pervades the sciences from top to bottom, transforming every branch of knowledge. [Shannon’s] Information theory began as a bridge from mathematics to electrical engineering and from there to computing. <br />Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 141-143). Pantheon. Kindle Edition. <br />11<br />
  25. 25. The result?<br />Gleick again:<br />After “information theory” came to be, so did “information overload,” “information glut,” “information anxiety,” and “information fatigue,” the last recognized by the OED in 2009 as a timely syndrome: “Apathy, indifference, or mental exhaustion arising from exposure to too much information, esp. (in later use) stress induced by the attempt to assimilate excessive amounts of information from the media, the Internet, or at work.” <br />Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 7201-7205). Pantheon. Kindle Edition. <br />What is Information?<br />12<br />
  26. 26. The solution?<br />Gleick has none but hard work:<br />No deus ex machina waits in the wings; no man behind the curtain. <br />As ever, it is the choice that informs us (in the original sense of that word). Selecting the genuine takes work; then forgetting takes even more work. This is the curse of omniscience: the answer to any question may arrive at the fingertips—via Google or Wikipedia or IMDb or YouTube or Epicurious or the National DNA Database or any of their natural heirs and successors—and still we wonder what we know.<br />Gleick, James (2011). The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Kindle Locations 7587-7588; 7592-7595). Pantheon. Kindle Edition. <br />13<br />
  27. 27. Can we help?<br />Is there help to be found from librarians?<br />What is Information?<br />14<br />

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